In the e-mail, he admonished the “nightmarish” dinner I had at Victory and offered a “do-over” at his establishment. He told me about how Fray is dedicated to local, fresh, and organic ingredients whenever possible. Addressing some of the problems I had at Victory, he offered unlimited pop and a big bowl of soup for everyone who’d attend. The rest of the menu would be available and he assured me that their “prices are very reasonable.”
Since I had been meaning to give Fray a try anyhow, I thought it was worth a shot. What did I have to lose? Let me note that I was under no obligation to write today’s post.
The bright red awning of Fray really stands out in the Fraser Street neighborhood that hasn’t yet reached the same kind of “hip and trendy” vibe that neighboring Main Street has gained in recent years. They’re daring to be different and it shows.
There are several board games available on the side for patrons to entertain themselves. There is a retro video game cabinet by the entrance and Atari artwork by the front door. I also noticed that Fray is very kid-friendly with not only a kids’ menu, but also kid cutlery, cups, and so on.
Unfortunately for us, I received an e-mail from Chris about a half hour before our reservation, letting me know that one of their fridges had broken down. We’d have a “limited menu” that night. Even so, we trucked ahead. Although Chris had promised a bowl of soup for everyone, apparently that was off the menu for the night. In lieu, everyone was offered one appetizer from a special menu.
“Fray’s Famous F-Bombs” are shown above. These bacon-wrapped figs were interesting, but the figs themselves were a little too mushy and the bacon wasn’t quite crispy enough. I can see how these could be a signature menu item.
In addition to the F-Bombs, we also tried the Farmer’s Flatbread (shown above), as well as chicken drumettes, pulled pork sliders, mac and cheese, and slider-sized versions of the Fray burger and Mountainview burger, the latter of which is a chickpea veggie burger served with grilled eggplant, lettuce, tomato, roasted red pepper sauce and a goat cheese spread.
The Mondo Fray Burger is shown at the top of this post and it’s the Fray Burger topped with Abbotsford bacon, sauteed mushrooms, and cheddar cheese. Personally, I found that there was too much bun and I’ve had better burgers. The fresh rosemary chips were pretty tasty though.
Fray is quirky, to be sure, but it’s also trying to offer good comfort food. That gets into the territory of places like Burgoo Bistro. One such example of this is the Fat Bastard Pork Belly. You get a nice thick wedge of local pork belly, along with an apple peach compote, white balsamic chive reduction, and fresh slaw. The pork itself was great, but the compote just made me think of canned fruit.
One of the tastiest dishes of the night had to be the wild mushroom ravioli. It had a beautifully earthy flavor and while the pasta was not served with any sauce, it didn’t need any.
After a couple weeks of Dine Out Vancouver, it was good to enjoy a nice down-to-earth meal at Fray on Fraser. I really appreciate the quirky decor and styling, and the customer service was top-notch, especially from manager Jaime. I also appreciate the drive to be as local and fresh as possible. That strip of Fraser Street was in need of a joint like this and Fray fits the bill. I look forward to its ongoing evolution, even if it’s still fighting through its growing pains.